Self-sealing or self-healing materials can be found in many applications, including automotive and aerospace, and remain a topic for current research. The nature of these materials allows damage to be repaired autonomously. This can improve safety and reliability, but also pose challenges for structural health monitoring and prognostics. One goal of structural health monitoring is to monitor the accumulation of minor damage and degradation in order to predict and prevent catastrophic failure. This task can be made harder by self-healing materials which cover up the clues used for health monitoring and prognostics. Incorporating sensing technology into self-healing materials can improve their performance by adding the capability of damage, detection assessment and location, and feedback on the healing process. Additionally, structural health monitoring is still possible and improved by the coupling of sensing and healing systems. To illustrate the benefit of a coupled system a laboratory scale test bed was created. A thermal healing polymer embedded with resistive heating wires acts as the self-healing material. Sensing duties are performed using an impedance, capacitance, and resistance testing device and an PC. As damage occurs to the polymer it is detected, located, and characterized. Based on the sensor output, a repair is made and subsequently monitored to ensure completeness. This proof-of-concept prototype has the potential to be expanded and improved with alternative sensor options, self- healing materials, and system architecture.
How to Cite
sensors, structural health monitoring
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